This is a short and pleasurable young adult fantasy, part of a series. In this first book of the series, Ceony Twill is assigned her tutor in the magical art of folding. In this fantasy world, the magical disciplines are divided by the elements with which magicians work. Folders work with paper, smelters with metal and so on. Her mentor is Mg. Thane, Magician Emery Thane.
He is a bit of a mystery and she is at first a bit of reluctant pupil. Folding is not one of the fashionable magical arts. In fact, it is so out of fashion, that Ceony was assigned to folding despite her desire to be a smelter. That lingering resentment does not hang on forever, though, as her tutor’s consideration and skill (and perhaps his good looks) persuade her there is more to folding than she previously thought.
Of course, there are bad guys, the excisioners, magicians who work magic on people, using blood and flesh. They kill people, and one of them, Lira, tried to kill Emery. He’s hanging on by a thread and only Ceony has the will to save him, so she sets off to find Lira and bring back Emery’s heart.
I liked the originality of the premise, that folding paper precisely enough with a simple spell would infuse it with magical powers. That is something we have not seen before. The story itself got lost a bit while Ceony was, herself, lost a bit. I think it meandered a bit too long when you bear in mind someone’s life is on the line. The end felt unfinished and incomplete, but I suppose one must accept that in a trilogy. I am interested in reading more, so the book meets its first remit, making me want more.